UPDATE 4:15 PM: Here is Ang Lee’s statement about his departure from Tyrant.
It is with disappointment that I must confirm I have withdrawn from my commitment to direct the upcoming FX pilot Tyrant.
It is one of the most brilliant ideas for a series that I’ve seen and one about which I was very excited.
However, after spending over four years making and promoting Life Of Pi, I have recently realized that I need some rest .
Because I cannot give 100% to this exciting project at this time, I cannot allow myself to do anything that may affect the potential for this exciting new series.
I wish FOX 21 and FX the best with this remarkable project.
EXCLUSIVE 2:50 PM: Oscar-winning director Ang Lee has pulled out of directing high-profile FX drama pilot Tyrant, from Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff and Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright. Lee committed to Tyrant shortly after winning a second directing Oscar (and third overall) for Life Of Pi. But after 4 1/2 years devoted to making Life Of Pi, a year to promote it and another six months of Oscar campaigning, I hear Lee felt he didn’t have gas left in the tank. Additionally, he had made other previous commitments including his current role as a juror at the Cannes Film Festival. I hear Lee called Gordon this morning from Cannes. In a very emotional call, Lee informed him that, despite his best intentions, he wouldn’t be able to proceed because he he had hit a wall physically and mentally after a grueling last few years. Lee had been looking forward to Tyrant, the first pilot he had ever agreed to direct, and loved the script. He had looked at some scouting locations but was yet to begin actively working on the pilot. It is unclear yet where the project will film, with Morocco and Turkey among the locales discussed. Created by Raff and developed by Gordon and Wright, Tyrant tells the story of an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. Gordon, Raff and Wright executive produce in association with Keshet Broadcasting. The Fox 21 project has a big commitment at FX and is expected to go to series.
Breaking Dawn‘s Mia Maestro is set to star opposite Corey Stoll in FX‘s high-profile drama project The Strain, from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and veteran showrunner Carlton Cuse. The Strain, an adaptation of del Toro’s vampire novel trilogy, formally has a pilot order, but is being eyed for a 13-episode series pickup. The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. Actress-singer Maestro, repped by ICM Partners and 3 Arts, plays Dr. Nora Martinez, who works so closely with Ephraim, they finish each other’s sentences and stumble into an affair. A brilliant biochemist, Martinez cares more about people than the diseases that threaten them, but she will soon be forced to embrace a new identity as a ruthless warrior. Read More »
As movie sequels dominate the box office with more than 30 slated this year alone, including Iron Man 3, Star Trek 2 and Hangover 3, television too is increasingly relying on expanding TV franchises. In … Read More »
First off, congratulations to all writers, producers, actors and agents who landed new series this week. I know it wasn’t easy. Here is Deadline’s annual list of those who excelled at the upfronts. I tried to be inclusive, but if I’ve missed anyone who’s had a banner week, let me know. I’ve also compiled a list of pods and independent producers with multiple broadcast series.
Cougar Town co-creator Bill Lawrence and his Doozer banner had three new series unveiled at the upfronts this week: comedies Undateable on NBC, Surviving Jack on Fox and Ground Floor on TBS. Also, TBS recently renewed Cougar Town for a fifth season.
Related: 2013-14 Schedule Grid & Top Face-Offs
J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot claimed one of the top new drama series last season with NBC’s Revolution and one of the hottest sophomore shows with CBS’ Person Of Interest. The company is keeping the momentum with two new series orders for next season: Almost Human at Fox and Believe at NBC.
Independent producer Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment received two new series orders from the broadcast networks: Back In The Game at ABC and Friends With Better Lives at CBS. Additionally, his freshman ABC comedy The Neighbors was renewed and his ABC pilot Bad Management is in serious contention for a series pickup. Kaplan also received two cable series orders in the past month, for Chasing Life on ABC Family and Instant Mom on NickMom, and also has comedy series Wendell & Vinnie on Nick at Nite and pilot HR at Lifetime.
Writer-producer Julie Plec also landed two new series this week, both at the CW: She wrote/executive produces the planted Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals and executive produces The Tomorrow People. Additionally, she executive produces TVD, giving her three series on the air next season. (Fellow Tomorrow People executive producer Greg Berlanti has two, including returning CW hit Arrow.)
Another drama writer-producer, former ER showrunner David Zabel, saw both of his pilots picked up. He is the writer/exec producer on ABC’s Betrayal and co-writer/exec producer on ABC’s Lucky 7. Read More »
Mark Roberts, the creator of Mike & Molly, will be leaving the CBS comedy series, which was recently renewed for a fourth season. Roberts “will be stepping down from his showrunner and executive producer roles … Read More »
2ND UPDATE, 11:45 AM: I hear Alpha House has gotten an official pickup, joining Betas. Alpha House follows four senators (John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy, Mark Consuelos) who live together in a rented house in Washington, DC. Zombieland and Browsers did not make the cut.
Related: Full Amazon Pilot Listings
UPDATE, 9 AM: Zombieland writer-producer Rhett Reese took to Twitter to blame the series’ pickup fail on Zombieland fans themselves: “I’ll never understand the vehement hate the pilot received from die-hard Zombieland fans. You guys successfully hated it out of existence.”
UPDATE, THURSDAY PM: There will be no Zombieland TV series, at least not on Amazon. The streaming service has passed on the pilot, as well as Browsers, as it continues to narrow down the field. Read More »
Samantha Who? co-creator Don Todd has joined ABC’s new drama series Mind Games as executive producer. On the 20th TV-produced show, Todd will assist creator/executive producer Kyle Killen with showrunner duties. Mind Games, which received a midseason order, … Read More »
With the broadcast networks done unveiling their schedules, here is the full fall grid (see below) and some intriguing matchups for next season:
Tuesday 8 PM: This is shaping out to be the biggest fall battleground, especially for male viewers. The Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC are going against the agents of NCIS on CBS. Also joining the fray is another younger-skewing new genre drama series, the CW’s Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals. Fox has new male-centered comedies Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. All these shows (or those who survive) will have to go against the biggest broadcast reality show at the moment, NBC’s The Voice, in midseason. Will anyone blink?
Related: Tuesday “Comedy Sigalert” Back
Thursday 9 PM: Robin Williams vs. Sean Hayes. The comedy vets are returning with new series (Williams in CBS’ The Crazy Ones, Hayes in NBC’s Sean Saves The World) and will face off in one of TV’s highest-profile slots. In another male comedy star showdown, Michael J Fox will take on Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer at 9:30 PM. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Tad Quill has signed an overall deal with CBS TV Studios. Under the pact, he will join the studio’s new CBS single-camera comedy series We Are Men as consulting producer. The project, created/executive produced by … Read More »
She may rise again. The Wonder Woman origin drama Amazon is in active redevelopment at the CW. The project was originally written by Allan Heinberg last season. Despite doing some preliminary casting on the lead while the script was still being written, the network ultimately didn’t give it a pilot order, instead rolling it to off-season. A new writer, Heroes alum Aron Eli Coleite, was brought in. Now “we’re waiting for the script to come in,” CW president Mark Pedowitz said following the network’s upfront presentation today. “We do not want to produce something that doesn’t work for that character. It is the trickiest of DC characters to get done.” If the network likes the script, the project will be ordered as an off-cycle pilot. As for The Selection, it is “unlikely” the property will be re-visited again after two failed pilots, the second of which came close to a series pickup, CW brass said.
Related: CW New Series First Looks: Video Read More »
Like most other broadcasters this upfront week, CW execs today urged advertisers to consider the network’s involvement with digital platforms — and announced that its streamed shows, now available on Windows and Xbox, will also work with Apple TV. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: HBO’s Silicon Valley-set dark comedy pilot from the King Of The Hill trio of Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, producer Scott Rudin and 3 Arts has received a series order. The untitled single-camera … Read More »
USA Network unveiled its drama development slate today and said it will start production this summer on the pilot Horizon, the period genre drama from The Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd that the network pushed in February. The new slate (see the full list below) includes Complications, the latest from Burn Notice‘s Matt Nix; the new Rob Thomas project Blanco County; and works from Doug Liman and David Semel. The news comes on the heels of the network’s newest original series, the Jeff Eastin-created Graceland, joining the summer drama schedule with a premiere set for June 6.
Related: USA Picks Up ‘Sirens’ And ‘Playing House’, Orders Half-Hour Pilot Read More »
The CW gets points for originality. After three days of marathon presentations, it’s hard to surprise weary upfront goers. But the network found a way to cheer them up when everyone’s attendance bracelets lit up and began to pulsate to the dance music of presentation’s opening act, Swedish DJ duo Icona Pop (and the following music intros).
CW president Mark Pedowitz doubles as a couples counselor today, walking onstage hand in hand with recently broken up Vampire Diaries stars Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder. “Last year, I told you this would be a transformative season at the CW and it has been,” Pedowitz says.
Related: CW Expands Streaming To Apple TV
The CW’s new Wednesday lineup of Arrow and newbie The Tomorrow People is showcased as an Amell family affair as the two series star cousins Stephen and Robbie Amell, respectively. The Amells come out to show off their shared good-looks genes and a childhood photo that draws a big “awww” from the audience. Also on hand is the star of new teenage Mary Queen of Scots costume drama Reign, Adelaide Kane, who felt a little awkward walking onstage in full regal attire. The trailer was well received though.
Related: CW New Series First Looks: Video Read More »
Comedy is expected to take center stage at USA Network‘s upfront presentation this afternoon as the cable network touts to advertisers the fall launch of its big off-network acquisition, Modern Family, and unveils its newly picked up original comedy series Sirens and Playing House. The cable network has been getting extra attention from comedy fans in the past week following ABC’s decision last Friday to cancel cult series Happy Endings. Talks between USA and leading Happy Endings producer Sony TV continue. At this point, I hear a pickup appears unlikely but the network is carefully exploring the opportunity to migrate a show with some success on broadcast TV and a dedicated fan base the way ABC’s Cougar Town moved to TBS.
Related: ‘Happy Endings’ Cancelled At ABC, Will USA Step In?
Of its three comedy pilot/presentations it had in consideration, USA picked up two, Sirens and Playing House. The third, Paging Dr. Freed, which was the first one ordered almost two years ago, is still in contention. I hear USA brass liked the pilot for the family medical comedy but thought it felt more like a season finale and didn’t properly introduce the characters. I hear the network approached Paging Dr. Freed creator Michael Feldman and studio Fox 21 about redeveloping the project and writing a new pilot script. If USA likes the new script, I hear it is intent on picking up the project straight to series. The options on the Paging Dr. Freed producers have been extended while those on the cast have lapsed. I hear USA is keen on bringing Annie Potts back if she is available. (Her ABC pilot Murder In Manhattan did not get picked up but is being considered by cable networks.) Read More »
The CW schedule features far more sweeping changes than any network this year. Like last fall, the CW is introducing three new series this fall — The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, costume drama Reign and sci-fi drama The Tomorrow People — with three more series — dramas The 100; Star-Crossed; and reality show Famous In 12, from the TMZ team — on tap for midseason. For a second year in a row, the CW will hold its fall launches until October to avoid the blitz of new shows and allow for more uninterrupted originals. Here is the schedule, followed by analysis and descriptions of the CW’s new series:
Related: CW New Series First Looks: Video
CW FALL 2013-2014 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; NN=New Night)
8-9 PM – Hart Of Dixie (NN)
9-10 PM – Beauty And The Beast (NN)
8-9 PM – THE ORIGINALS
9-10 PM – Supernatural (NN)
8-9 PM – Arrow
9-10 PM – THE TOMORROW PEOPLE
8-9 PM – The Vampire Diaries
9-10 PM – REIGN
8-9 PM – The Carrie Diaries (NN)
9-10 PM – America’s Next Top Model
The CW is shaking up its schedule big time, with changes on every night. In all, only the network’s two top series, The Vampire Diaries and Arrow, are staying put. They are being used to launch two of the CW’s highest-profile new series, the Mary, Queen of Scots drama Reign and the Greg Berlanti-Julie Plec produced futuristic The Tomorrow People. CW brass has high hopes for female-centered reign, so it opted to launch the series behind the network’s series with the highest concentration of female viewers, Vampire Diaries.
Related: ‘Nikita’ To End Run With Final Six-Episode Installment Read More »
As expected, the CW announced today that the six-episode renewal for Nikita will mark the spy drama’s final installment. The pickup came after Nikita creator Craig Silverstein, who has a hot new pilot, Turn, at AMC, closed a deal for one last short order. Nikita‘s final chapter, which is yet to be scheduled, will bring the series full circle, with Nikita (Maggie Q) once again on the run as a hunted rogue for a murder she didn’t commit as she attempts to clear her name as well as spare the people she loves. The pickup is part of CW president Mark Pedowitz’s efforts to give the network’s long-running series a satisfying ending for fans. Nikita, a very modest performer on Friday night, has had solid digital play and ranks as one of the CW’s top series on social media. It also has been a strong international seller for producing studio Warner Bros TV.
Related: CW 2013-14 Schedule Read More »